Since the last post card not much else has changed out here. We are just approaching the International date line again. So soon we are going to repeat a day to catch up for the day we jumped over about eight months ago. So in preparation (or as a cruel joke) one of the movie stations has been running on constant loop the movie “Groundhog Day”. Other then that the other issue we have is trying to get some of the maintenance computer systems to properly track the date change. The biggest issue for our aviation maintenance admin types is getting the NALCOMIS computers to understand that even though the date changed back a day, cause of the way it is programmed; workers can only work on a certain maintenance action once in a day for a time block. The program gets all confused when dates repeat themselves. So there are extra hoops that we have to jump through to get it all working.

Quick aside just so your readers know. NALCOMIS is an acronym that stands for Naval Air Logistics Command Operating Maintenance Information System. It is a computerized system to track maintenance actions on aircraft. When an airplane flies, the aircrew come back with their issues from the airplane. They will come down to the maintenance control desk, take either a specific computer terminal set up for it or there will be a specific pad of paper to write the discrepancy on. At which time the gripe will be reviewed by the relevant work center and entered into the computer system. From there the gripe will appear on the work center’s work load. At which time the supervisor of the work center will be able to task people to the gripe and get it fixed. What is supposed to make this all better versus the old Visual Information Display System/Maintenance Action Forms (VIDS/MAFs ) boards was that the computer is real time. That is when it doesn’t crash for some reason, hung up cause of an error, or if people aren’t doing the data entry properly into it for the tracking purposes.

Back to the program, So besides having to trick our NALCOMIS computers to understand the date didn’t change. We also get to repeat a few things such as fly days and standing specific training evolutions. Since our day to be the air wing safety observer and lead in the hunt for FOD is that day. We get to repeat leading the charge in safety and FOD hunting. Overall it will be a weird day over all. I have some family that have made the Trans-Pac this way and repeated birthdays, Thanksgiving, even Christmas. Overall it is just one more day closer to home.

Coming closer to home we are getting big time in to trying to fix the jets enough so they can safely fly off and make it back to the beach. This might sound wrong, but if we can fix the plane and get it to the point where it can bring the crew home, safely taxi to its parking spot, let them get out and then collapse into a bunch of parts so be it. At least the crew got home. The hard part about this is we are at the wrong end of the supply chain, running low on parts. So there are times we are trying to make a decision on whether it is worthwhile to submit the part for rework onboard or get it fixed enough to fly home and then pull the bad component back at home. Along with that there are parts that are going bad which we are looking at trying to make the decision on whether their inability to function is going to affect safety of flight back home. A big juggling act in the shops, maintenance control, the DH’s, and finally on the skipper’s. We aren’t the only ones involved in this situation either, all through out the air wing similar decisions are being made.

On the personal side of cruise. This last couple of weeks is where back in the berthing or our racks. All you can hear is “when I get home..”. Guys jonesing for space away from everyone. Guys jonesing for their favorite meals. A chance to take the hottest and longest shower, sleep in a real bed without hearing any announcing system. Heck even to just sleep in on a weekend and know that there are such things as weekends. Me personally. I can’t wait to get home and do that hot long shower thing. Then when a Sunday rolls around, go out get the Sunday paper. Sit there in my chair reading the paper eating breakfast and enjoying that there is nothing pressing right away. The meal that I really want is a stuffed Turkey breast, that has stuffing, cranberries, and oranges in it all with a glazed honey sauce. I don’t know but for some reason that meal has been creeping into my head the past couple of days. The first time I got it was a couple of years ago, while shopping for a quick meal at the local supermarket before my girlfriend at the time (now Mrs.) showed up for a date at the house. Not having enough time getting out of work late to actually cook something. Walked through the deli section and found this thing. All it took was a quick 30 minutes in the oven and faster then you can say “BAM!” the meal was on the table and I was finishing up the veggies when she walked in. Totally impressed that I was able to prepare a meal with out destroying the kitchen and make it tasty as well. With a quick wink and smile, I let her know that I am fully capable of something more then just frozen waffles and soda pop (which I had to cook the first dinner cause I totally spaced on grocery shopping).

It is only a few days left and I will be done with this part of the adventure soon. I can’t wait.